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The Book of Lost Things (2008)
by John Connolly
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The Book of Lost Things starts out very similar to a lot of other classic fantasy tales. David in an ordinary boy who has a connection with another world, that he finally enters. This is a melding of some of the most beloved fairy tales, folk tales, and stories of our childhood. Part Narnia and part Never Ending Story, David's story is a much darker twist to a familiar tale. Childhood stories like Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast are turned on its head, made more adult and very pertinent to David's own life. The Book of Lost Things was completely engrossing and I couldn't stop reading. Some have complained at the 150 pages of notes at the end, which retold the stories used in the book with some explanation for the changes. While very self-indulgent on Connolly's part, I found his notes very interesting because it offered a lot of insight into David's thought processes and journey, and ultimately made me see a whole other layer in the story.
This book was tinged with the darkness of the Brothers Grimm, and for some reason it played out in my head visually like Pan's Labyrinth. I liked the idea and the use of fairytales but there were some chapters that weren't as effective and dulled my interest.
Despite being with David throughout the entire adventure I still didn't feel connected to him or have a sense of who he was, his father and step-mother seemed more fleshed out than he. The ending was also somewhat predictable, it would have been nicer to learn more about 'the King' and what had been happening during his 'reign'.
All in all it was an OK read with a few boring parts but otherwise a decent dark fairy tale.
A fairytale story for grown-ups. John Connolly proves that he can write more than just thrillers.
While I understand the point he was trying to make at the end, and felt as if it was a good one, it still seemed rushed. After so much detail in the exposition, I was disappointed with the short conclusion.
This is an adult novel steeped in children's literature that cannily makes its 1940s junior protagonist credibly ignorant of aspects which the grown-up reader, or any modern kid, will catch at once.
Written in the clear, evocative manner of the best British fairy tales from JM Barrie to CS Lewis, The Book of Lost Things is an engaging, magical, thoughtful read.
Good ideas, these afterthoughts, every one; but rather than go back and write them in, he sticks them down in the pluperfect and hurries on. The result is less a novel in any genre than a catalogue, a dispiritingly detailed outline for something Connolly might like to write, if he only had the time, or the talent, or a decent editor.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
'Once upon a time, there was a boy who lost his mother ...' As twelve-year-old David takes refuge from his grief in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother, he finds the real world and the fantasy world begin to blend. That is when bad things start to happen. That is when the Crooked Man comes. And David is violently propelled into a land populated by heroes, wolves and monsters in his quest to find the legendary Book of Lost Things.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.
Definitely different, but in a good way, and worth a reading. ( )